Jourama Falls was an intriguing multi-tiered waterfall that tumbled over at least five or six visible sections (from what we could tell). We don’t know the cumulative height of this waterfall series, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Waterview Creek would tumble well over 200m or so. Further downstream of the main drops of the falls, it looked like there were additional cascades and waterslides where we saw some pretty daring youngsters go for a swim despite the seemingly high waterflow of the creek. I’m sure swimming would be a more viable option when Waterview Creek would have less waterflow than what we witnessed. Speaking of the high water, Julie and I had to earn our visit to this waterfall as it turned out to be a bit more of an adventure than we came mentally prepared for. Our visit was during May 2008, which was supposed to be around the start of the Dry Season in tropical Queensland.
From the car park, we were faced with a 3km return track. The first 800m or so of the walking track was on dirt in a pretty flat and open terrain flanked by some thin trees with darkened bark. This straightforward part of the walk would soon reach a crossing of Waterview Creek that was actually running fairly high. This crossing was one of the reasons why we thought we were getting a little more adventure than we anticipated going into the hike.
As scary as it looked, the park authorities had put chains to hold onto while also filling in buckets that served as foot steps to keep the wading in the creek to a minimum. In fact, with a combination of our Gore-tex boots and these aids that were put in place, I managed to keep from getting my socks wet on this crossing (though Julie had one misstep and got one foot soaked), which was amazing considering how scary the crossing looked. That said, I could imagine how even this part would be impassable had Waterview Creek been running even higher than it did during our visit.
Beyond the wet part of the crossing, we then had to do a little bit of a stream bed scramble on a slippery field of boulders. The awkward footing and slick terrain from the smooth boulders we had to weave through made it real easy for a fall here, and it made us wish we had our trekking poles with us (to aid with the balance). At the end of the stream scramble, we then picked up the signs and the track again.
The track then took us towards a junction with a spur trail where that spur led down towards Waterview Creek amongst a jumble of boulders. This was the path I’d imagine some people would walk to in order to go for a swim or to just chill out by the creek (which we saw some youngsters do later on in our hike). From down here, it appeared that only the uppermost tiers of Jourama Falls would be visible.
So continuing on the main track, we had to go up a series of switchbacks for the final 600m in order to make it all the way up to the overlook of the impressive Jourama Falls. As if the heat and humidity of tropical Queensland didn’t already make us sweaty to this point, this uphill stretch most certainly ensured that we’d be drenched with sweat by the time we made it to the end. Yet when we did make it to the overlook, we were treated to a very comprehensive view of the cliff giving rise to what appeared to be a broken jumble of waterfalls as five or six tiers would decorate line sections of the cliff before us.
After having our fill of this overlook, it was all downhill to return to the car park. However, we once again had to negotiate the tricky stream crossing. Somehow, it didn’t seem as difficult on the way back as it did on the way in. But Julie and I felt relieved to get through this part of the walk and return to the car park a little over an hour after we had originally left the car.
The signposted turnoff for the falls (on Jourama Falls Rd) was 24km south of Ingham or 91km north of Townsville along the Bruce Hwy (A1). We stayed at Cardwell, which was 82km (an hour drive) north of the falls. Although the directions seemed to be pretty straightforward, accessing the car park itself on the last 6km of unsealed road was a little scary for us.
That was because the adventure with Waterfall Creek wasn’t only limited to the hiking portion as described above. Indeed, the unsealed access road to the falls included two fairly scary-looking creek crossings that we had to get through in order to finally arrive at the car park. We managed to get through them in our 2wd rental vehicle after watching another passenger car in front of us move forward without any qualms about it so we knew at that point that we could do it. That said, I’m sure that if Waterfall Creek were to run any higher than it did during our May 2008 visit, this road would be impassable.
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